Excruciating Detail

July 9, 2015

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.      

Both houses of Congress are debating the the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and we need to you to tell them to keep vouchers, which cripple public education to find private religious schools, out of the picture. Actually, both houses rejected voucher amendments last night! Thank you to those who reached out!

In revelations that will surprise no one, it is discovered that ExxonMobile knew that global warming was happening as early as 1981, and yet has spent more than $30 million on efforts to deny it. (This seems relevant to this topic.)

The Death Panels are here!!! And by that I mean Medicare will now cover end-of-life counseling. Which is the same thing. Panels!

The FTC fines five companies for many millions of dollars for hawking a useless "memory supplement," Procera AVH. 

Chris French reviews Edzart Ernst's A Scientist in Wonderland for Skeptical Inquirer

Let's say for the sake of argument that you don't, for one, welcome our robot overlords (in which case, hey robots, I'm totally not with that person), and would like to keep A.I. in check. Dominic Basulto at WaPo rounds up some ways that this might be possible, and my favorite is "Making AI systems explain their decisions to humans in excruciating detail." That'll show 'em!

Speaking of future tech and excruciating detail, I have written up many of my thoughts and questions about Neal Stephenson's latest novel Seveneves, WHICH I LOVED, at my blog iMortal

Netflix is producing a biopic based on the life of American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair.  

Seventh-day Adventists, not known for their progressivism, indeed vote to deny women the chance to be ordained

Jimmy Carter says Jesus would be cool with same-sex marriage, or indeed "any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else." 

Gov. Sam Brownback, unlike Jesus, is scared of same-sex marriage and issued an executive order saying that clergy denying services to LGBT folks can't be penalized. 

Alt-med website says homosexuality is cause by a blockage of chakras and can be "cured" by homeopathy or acupuncture.  

Julia Belluz at Vox reminds us that although the University of Toronto has canceled its alt-med teachings, 90% of US med schools still teach the nonsense. 

Our friends at Forecast the Facts, which have helped promote the CSI letter on skeptics vs. deniers, are changing their name to ClimateTruth.org

Quote of the Day:

Robyn Pennacchia at The Frisky seeks a way to express her skepticism in the paranormal to those inclined to believe: 

People can accept you not believing in God because it’s not like they feel like they have any actual proof either — it’s all faith. ... We’re at a stand-off. But when you’re talking to people who believe they have personally seen ghosts, who believe they have psychic powers, well, if you tell them you don’t believe in that, it’s like you’re saying they’re either a liar or they’re delusional. And that just feels unnecessarily cruel and unkind. 

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